Atleast 32 people were killed and over 100 are believed to have been injured after the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express (18448) derailed near Kuneru in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh around midnight Saturday. The impact was severe particularly in compartments S8 and S9 of the train which fell on a goods train passing by on the parallel track.
Around 40 persons were critically injured and they have been rushed to hospitals at Rayagada, Parvatipuram, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam. The condition of at least seven of them is said to be grave. Oficials feared the toll could rise.
The derailment occurred between 11.30 pm and midnight when the train was on its way to Bhubaneswar from Jagdalpur.
A majority of the victims are from Odisha.
Of the 22 compartments in the train, eight coaches including a two-tier AC coach, a thre-tier AC coach, two sleeper coaches, two general coaches, a luggage van, the guard’s cabine and the locomotive itself came off the rails.
As the incident occurred near a CRPF camp in Kuneru, the paramilitary personnel were the first to reach the spot, Andhra Pradesh DGP N Sambasiva Rao said. Around 16 ambulances were pressed into service to shift the injured to the hospitals. “Our police personnel along with CRPF, Railway Police and Railway Protection Force succeeded in rescuing a majority of the victims. The bodies have been retrieved from the mangled compartments of S8 and S9,” he added.
The officials suspect that at least five-six bodies are still stuck under the derailed compartments.
A team of doctors has reached the accident site. The administrations of both Vizianagaram and Rayagada districts are taking active part in the rescue operation. Waltair divisional railway manager Chandralekha Mukherjee also rushed to the spot along with a railway medical team.
Train services were affected on Rayagada and Vijayanagaram route, with several trains diverted. Alternate transportation including buses have been arranged by the authorities for shifting the other passengers to Brahmapur, Palasa and Vizianagaram.(IE)